Polish migrants experienced the question of potential return to Poland as difficult and complex, despite their marginalized situation in Norway. Their own assessments of return stand in many ways in contrast to the idea of them as temporary and flexible labour, who can and will easily return if unemployed.
Kathrine Mayora Synnes
Kathrine Mayora Synnes of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Agder has submitted her thesis entitled Unemployed Polish migrants’ experiences encountering the Norwegian welfare state and will defend the thesis for the PhD-degree 17 March 2023.
EEA citizens are free to move across national borders within the EEA area and work wherever they choose. However, their access to public welfare benefits may be limited, and this can lead to difficult situations. The analyses in this dissertation are primarily based on interviews with Polish migrants who are unemployed and living in highly marginalized situations in Norway, as well as interviews with employees of NAV (the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration). The dissertation focuses on these migrants’ access to public welfare benefits, their encounters with NAV, and which conditions that have contributed to their marginalization.
The study indicates that unemployed Polish migrants face several challenges that may prevent them from realizing their entitlements to welfare benefits in Norway. One of these challenges concerns the competence that is needed to get in contact with NAV to clarify one’s entitlements and to properly submit an application for benefits.
The dissertation also draws attention to the regulations regarding social assistance for EEA citizens. The study suggests that the restrictive practices at local NAV offices are linked to the idea of Polish migrants as temporary labour in Norway.
Another finding in the dissertation is that Polish migrants experienced the question of potential return to Poland as difficult and complex, despite their marginalized situation in Norway. Their own assessments of return stand in many ways in contrast to the idea of them as temporary and flexible labour, who can and will easily return if unemployed. The study suggests that this notion of Polish migrants both mask and reinforcing their vulnerable situation in Norway.
Overall, the dissertation show how the EEA’s mobility regime produces unclear and unpredictable forms of citizenship, and thus challenges the idea of a clearly defined population and a universal welfare state that includes everyone.
Time and place: Campus Kristiansand, B1-001, 17 March 2023.
Trial lecture starts at 10:15 hours.
Public defence starts at 12:15 hours.
Supervisors: May-Linda Magnussen (UiA) and Anne Marie Støkken (UiA).
Professor Randi Kroken (UiA)
First opponent: Professor Kjetil Grimastad Lundberg (Høgkulen på Vestlandet)
Second opponent: Professor Sabine Gruner (Mittuniversitetet i Sverige)
See how you can follow the disputation at campus and via Zoom.